- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 31/10/2019
As a term, ’bushcraft’ has been with us for a few years now, probably popularised by TV outdoorsman Ray Mears. However, what he and thousands of people like him are doing today, goes back to the very roots of mankind and probably never had a cool name. Survival or living off the land is a better term, which requires a suitable knife. Not a pure hunter, nor a combat blade, but something utilitarian that sits in the middle.
In my large Spyderco collection I have their first Bushcraft model, which, as befits the need, is a simplistic design with a full tang blade and rivetted G10 scales. Generally speaking, the blade should be between four and six inches long and reasonably stout, their model is a four incher and comes in an engulfing leather sheath with hollow rivets, so that it can be tied to gear as well as belt-mounted. More up to date, and to my mind even more suited, is one of their new creative cooperation’s, the Zoomer PIN. They do a lot of this co-development with knife makers across the world, so they can offer a factory-made design from a quality smith who knows what they are doing at a reasonable price.
In the is case, it’s a Dutch guy called Tom Zoomer, outdoor enthusiast and survival skills instructor; his design features a broad, drop-point blade, using Crucible® CPM® 20CV particle metallurgy, stainless steel. This alloy mix contains a high volume of vanadium carbides and chromium of any similar steel available. This mix of elements ensures high wear and superior corrosion resistance properties and impressive impact toughness, ideal criteria for a jack of all trades discipline. The wedge-shaped, Japanese Hamaguri (convex) grind makes for one tough and wicked sharp design.
Once again and like the best field knives the build is one-piece, with a full tang that ends in a protected lanyard hole that protrudes about 1/8” from the pommel, which can be used as a hammer if required. Different is the handle, as their original Bushcraft used a two-piece G10 build riveted through. Again, G10 is used but in a more subtle and for that matter practical manner. If you look carefully, what looks like a one-piece moulding is actually two perfectly matched scales that are bonded in position. This is extended along the top and covers the first inch of blade to act as a thumb support; certainly different from the jimping that we see on spines for the same purpose. The handle is, large, hand filling, well-shaped and smooth to the touch, perhaps a tad too much for my liking, we shall see!
Measured from tip to curved guard, the blade is 5 1/8” long with a 5.5” cutting edge, with the signature, Spyderco hole. It’s deep at 1 1/8” and strong with a 1/8” thick spine that maintains its width for about 4/5th of its length. At 10” long and weighing 9.6oz it’s a big knife, but does not feel that heavy or unwieldy, though is undoubtedly sturdy and fit for purpose.
My misgivings on the smooth handle proved unfounded, giving it the wet hand test showed good adhesion and near ZERO slippage or movement. With use and time this grip would improve no doubt. I’m no bush crafter, but a hunter, so my knife needs are a bit different, but I liked the edge retention qualities, overall sharpness and address the Zoomer offered. Plus, I do like larger knives that offer more general usage, although it will gut and skin any size deer with ease.
Now, to what is always my most critical area; the sheath. The Zoomer’s is leather and a massive, blocky shape, beautifully made and finished, it engulfs the knife to halfway up its handle, so retention is not a problem until it starts to wear in and expand. The interior has no blade/edge protector, so it’s very easy to start to chop it up as you draw and return. It features a hinged, belt hanger, in consequence, the package sits very low below the belt and could do with a leg tie to stop it flapping about. The main body shows a large, press studded pouch for bits and pieces, which is useful. I would have preferred one of their custom-moulded Boltaron sheaths with G-Clip attachment, as I have on my Serrata, which is far more practical. The knife comes in a padded zipper case.